How to Become a Firefighter in Hawaii – Career and Jobs
Hawaii is a rare mix of exotic landscapes, sunny beaches, and sprawling metro cities. From Honolulu to Maui, Hawaii has troves of excitement to offer to everyone and is one of the hottest tourist spots in the world. But apart from offering such natural and cultural diversity, it also provides variety in the types of calamities. From wildfires to destructive tsunamis, Hawaii is no stranger to natural disasters. That is the reason why firefighter job opportunities in the state of Hawaii is so great. The place has 11 fire departments and employs almost 2,000 fire professionals who make quite splendid wages.
Even though there are a lot of job opportunities for firefighters in Hawaii, one has to put in a tremendous amount of hard work and show a never-ending enthusiasm to make it through the selection process. Given the dangerous and demanding nature of this job, fire departments are quite adamant about keeping their selection process challenging, which is only logical. A fireman needs to be alert, fit, and have the ability to react quickly. A second’s delay in critical situations like a forest fire can lead to catastrophic endings.
Fire departments devise their selection process in a way which evaluates a candidate on the grounds of mental and physical abilities. To help you along the way, we have got for you some crucial bits of information.
Requirements to Become a Firefighter in Hawaii
To become a firefighter in Hawaii, you need to:
- be at least 18 years old
- have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
- have a valid driver’s license
- have a spotless criminal record
- have a good CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) score
- have various medical certifications like GMT and CPR (This requirement varies from place to place. Some fire departments in Hawaii insist on having them; others don’t. So you will need to check with the fire department in advance.)
Firefighter Training in Hawaii
It is not a requirement for a candidate to have a degree in firefighting/fire science to land a job as a firefighter, but it does give one an edge over other applicants. Also, since Hawaii has various types of fire hazards, including fires spawned out of lava flows, you need to learn how to deal with them. So, to increase your chances to become a firefighter in Hawaii, you need to get a degree in firefighting/fire science, which are offered by various firefighting academies in Hawaii.
You can either go for an Associate’s Degree or a certificate degree in fire science. While both degrees have a lot to offer, an Associate’s degree provides some distinct advantages by opening gateways to multiple job profiles other than firefighting. It can also help you get a desk job and work in the management section of a fire department, or you can opt for further studies for a research job.
Professionals who want to advance in their careers find these degrees very useful. They pave the way for more lucrative job opportunities. These courses are designed to give equal emphasis to both classroom and outdoor study cultures. These lectures will initially teach you about the essential traits of a fire (chemical and biological), various fire code regulations, how to read blueprints, etc. Then, as you climb up the educational ladder and clear semesters, you will eventually get into the harder stuff.
Outdoor classes are also essential for firefighting students. With the latest teaching methods and gear, these students are put through fire simulations and taught how to behave when the danger is real. Another aspect of outdoor classes is training the students in bringing them into a good shape, which is essential for a firefighter. Apart from that, they are also taught how to drive fireman’s truck, how to do CPR, and operate various tools like water hoses and axes.
Firefighter Recruitment Process in Hawaii
If you meet the eligibility criteria of the fire department you want to apply for, then you will need to fill out your examination form and appear for a written test. The questions are of moderate difficulty and range from common math problems to logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and writing capabilities.
If you pass in the written examination, then you will be put through a physical test which will evaluate your stamina, agility, eyesight, and other such physical attributes. After clearing the physical examination, you will be required to appear for a face-to-face interview with an experienced firefighter. Finally, if you are able to charm your way through the interview, then after a thorough background check, you will get your appointment letter.
Firefighter Training Academies in Hawaii
1. Honolulu Community College
It is a prestigious public institution which offers many courses varying from liberal arts to marine education. However, its most rewarding offerings remain its Associate and Certificate programs in firefighting/fire science. There are currently 5,949 students studying at HCC, and it offers both online and campus courses. For natives, it costs around $2,736 to study here and around $7,584 for non-natives.
2. Hawaii Community College
Located in the famous city of Hilo, Hawaii Community College has a student population of roughly 4,075. It offers Associates and Certificate degrees and caters to students wanting to learn online as well. For a native, it costs around $2,756 to study here while a non-native has to pay $7,584.
Firefighter Salary in Hawaii
Firefighters in Hawaii make an average annual wage of $55,170 and an average hourly wage of $26.52. But, like most professions, a lot of factors influence the pay scale of a firefighter, and among the chief of them is the experience. Given below is a snapshot of salaries for firefighters working on various experience levels:
|Job Level||Hourly Wage||Annual Salary|
Source: Career Explorer
Firefighter Jobs and Career in Hawaii
The growth of this profession in Hawaii is quite slow, which is pretty much the case with the entire country. According to the study conducted by Career Explorer, this profession is likely to grow 7.2% between 2016-2026. The prospects are not that good, and the competition is fierce in this lane. But, deserving candidates will always find a job. So, study hard, train harder and keep a positive attitude.